Pocahontas Board Of Education Briefed by High Rocks Academy Staff

At their November 30th meeting, the Pocahontas County Board of Education received an informational report from Kendra Taylor, the Program Director of the High Rocks Academy for Girls located near Hillsboro.  Kendra introduced three members of the High Rocks Youth Advisory Board and asked each of them to talk about the High Rocks Educational Program.

First up was Lexi Ruffman.

“High Rocks is a leadership program in Pocahontas, Nicholas and Greenbrier Counties” said Lexi. “Our goal is to educate, empower and inspire young women in Appalachia. We have two camps in the summer as well as college trips throughout the year; overnights; after school tutoring;. Camp New Beginnings is a camp just for middle schoolers -solely for 7th grade girls. I know I went as an insecure 12 year old young girl and I left as an empowered 12 year old young woman. This camp changed my life.”

Next, Summer Propst talks about her job as a Junior Camp Counselor at High Rocks.

“Being a JC (Junior Counselor) really teaches you responsibility- while you’re there you’re like a big sister to the girls” said Summer. “You check them in at night and make sure they are having a good time at camp and that they are feeling empowered and inspired. You really have one on one interaction. Also it’s a real job. You apply and if you don’t fill your duties your not going to get paid for it. So it teaches you to step up as you would in the real world.”

Finally, Mattie Persinger talks about what it means to serve on the Youth Advisory Board.

“The three of us are on the Youth Advisory Board at High Rocks” Mattie says. “What that is,  is a board made up of upper class High Rocks girls who’ve been around for a few years, helping advise the Governing Board and other staff members of what steps we think High Rocks should take. So really providing the girls’ input and being the voice of the girls to the staff. And just like being a Junior Counselor, it is also a real job. We have to apply and we are paid members. We get paid for what we do. If we don’t show up to meetings – we don’t do things- than we don’t get paid.”

Carol Suder-Howes of the Davis and Elkins Upward Bound Program also briefed the Board on how the Upward Bound Program assists low income students from Appalachia prepare for college.

Emily Booth, the Student Representative to the Board delivered her report , in which she mentioned that the County Forestry Team placed 11th in the US and announced the creation of a PCHS Facebook page.

The Board also heard from School Superintendent Terrance Beam about the results of the recent OEPA Audit of the schools. Marlinton Middle and Hillsboro Elementary Schools’ strategic plans were found to be in complete compliance with OEPA expectations, while the other schools had to make some minor adjustments to their strategic plans to bring them into OEPA compliance. All-in all, the OEPA audit went well with no major problems found for any of the schools.

In other actions, the Board asked its attorney, Bob Martin to look into the $1800 Mon Power bill received for the old cafeteria at Hillsboro. The bill was so large because Mon Power neglected to read the meter for 27 months. Martin will attempt to negotiate a discount and longer period of time to spread the payments out over since the fault was entirely Mon Power’s.

Sherry Radcliff, the School Treasurer presented several ideas on how to save money. One was to increase the cost of milk and meals, another was to pay parents who have to transport their children a long distance to the closest bus stop on a per family rather than a per child basis since it doesn’t cost more to drive more than one student to the bus.  She also proposed closing down the Field House during December, January and February to save electric costs. The Board asked the Superintendent to draft a policy about the student transportation costs, but was not enthusiastic about the other two proposals.

The Board approved a RESA 4 Alternative Teacher Certification Program Memorandum of Understanding.

The Board also approved 5 volunteer Archery Coaches:

  1. Heather D. Simmons
  2. Robert Simmons
  3. David Smith
  4. Jody Spencer
  5. Rebecca Spencer

The Board approved the following Personnel Agenda:

  1. Ella M. Taylor was employed as Athletic Director at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School retroactive to the beginning of this school year.
  2. Anne M. Smith was employed as Project ELA Tutor/Enrichment Instructor (Project Splash) at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School, retroactive to October 26th.
  3. E. Jamey Weber was employed as a Tutor at Marlinton Elementary School from November 11, 2015 through June 1, 2016 at $20.00 per hour, 2 hours per day, two days per week.
  4. Shonda Carr and Whitney Fedak to be employed as Substitute Teachers from December 2, 2015 through the rest of the school year.
  5. Devan E. Simmons was employed as Afterschool Coordinator/Career Counselor/Tutor retroactive to November 11th through June 1, 2016 at $25.00 per hour, 8 hours per week.
  6. There was a “Creation of Incentive” – a $500.00 incentive for all service personnel who give notice of intent to retire.  The notice must be received by the Superintendent by January 15, 2016 and the retirement must be effective at the end of the current school year.




Story By

Tim Walker

Tim is the WVMR News Reporter. Tim is a native of Maryland who started coming to Pocahontas County in the 1970’s as a caver. He bought land on Droop Mountain off Jacox Road in 1976 and built a small house there in the early 80’s. While still working in Maryland, Tim spent much time at his place which is located on the Friars Hole Cave Preserve. Retiring in 2011 as a Lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, Tim finally took the plunge and moved from Maryland to his real home on Droop Mountain. He began working as the Pocahontas County Reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio in January of 2015.

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